Big cities are a the destinations of choice among home and condo buyers. 38 percent of Germany's residential real estate buyers choose properties in major cities, another third opts for the great metro areas. This is the upshot of a homeownership survey conducted by the TNS Infratest market research institute on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development and a number of banks. As recently as the 1990s, home buyers were more or less evenly distributed among conurbations, mid-sized cities, smaller towns, and rural areas. The years since, however, have been characterised by an increasing trend to move to Germany's economic hubs, and to not just buy existing properties but to build new ones, too. For years, the metro regions have registered an increase in the number of planning permissions, and thus in the development of new housing.
Buyers Tend to Pick Property Nearby
According to the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office, a total of 12,518 apartments were approved in Berlin in 2013. The sum includes 10,101 new units, which implies a year-on-year increase by more than 30 percent. In the core areas of conurbations, short supply in building land has caused the focus to shift from single-family detached homes to condominiums. Nearly 8,000 of the apartments approved in Berlin are being developed in multi-family residential buildings. This, too, is a year-on-year increase by one third. Conversely, the number of planning permits for detached and semi-detached homes rose by only five percent.
Another finding of the TNS Infratest survey is that property buyers rarely stray outside theirs home regions. Around 80 percent of them acquire a home or a condo close to their previous place of residence. The rootedness is even higher among residents of the urban gravy belts: Here in the suburbs, 87 percent of the survey respondents said their search for a suitable property prioritises the surrounding area.
Condominiums: Berlin’s Most Liquid Market
Accentro's Homeownership Report 2013 shows the distribution of condominium transactions across German cities. It also puts the number of condominiums that changed hands in 2012 at more than 130,000. With around 22,500 units sold, Berlin is by far the largest condominium market in Germany, followed by Munich with 13,000 and Hamburg with nearly 6,800. These metropolises top the ranking of units sold due to the sheer size of their housing markets. If, however, you study the one-year changes in transaction figures, you will quickly realise: Smaller cities are catching up. In Halle an der Saale, for instance, the number of condos sold in 2012 implies a year-on-year increase by more than 130 percent. That same year, condominium sales rose by around 62 percent in Fürth, and by 47 percent in Wolfsburg.